Masaki Kobayashi’s stunningly beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories is both a captivatingly creepy horror film and an elegant treatise on death and loss to rank alongside Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari. Comprising four nightmarish tales adapted from Lafcadio Hearn’s classic ghost stories, each of which has its own visual style, Kwaidan features some of the most breathtaking imagery in Japanese cinema, lavishly photographed from a series of immaculately handpainted sets.
Originally released in Britain in an 163-minute version, Kwaidan was recently restored to its full 183-minute glory, and the result remains a timeless classic that both chills the bones and enraptures the senses.
Horror 1974 83 mins Director: Tobe Hooper
Unrivalled in its relentless vision of pure terror, Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece remains as brutal and horrific as it ever was.
Horror 1976 91 mins Director: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg’s classic outbreak horror introduces us to a young woman (Marilyn Chambers) who hungers for human blood after an experimental plastic surgery goes wrong.
Horror 2014 101 mins Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one. A female vampire stalks a ghost town in Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut.
Horror 2009 104 mins Director: Lars von Trier
After tragedy strikes, a couple retreat to a cabin in the woods in order to grieve. However, they find things go from bad to worse, in this brutal interrogation of nature from Lars von Trier.
Horror 1979 107 mins Director: Werner Herzog
English language version of Herzog’s stimulating take on the Dracula story starring Klaus Kinski, with echoes of Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu.
Comedy 2014 86 mins Director: Taika Waititi
An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1964 147 mins Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Hiroshi Teshigahara's mystifying, serene and provocative fable about an entomologist who becomes trapped in a young widow’s desert shack.
Horror 2002 101 mins Director: Hideo Nakata
A single mother desperately tries to shield her daughter from hidden terrors in her apartment block, in Hideo Nakata's chilling masterpiece.
Horror 2001 119 mins Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's dark and apocalyptic J-Horror foretells how technology serves to isolate us as it grows more important to our lives.
Horror 1997 96 mins Director: Hideo Nakata
A journalist sets out to uncover in urban legend about a supposedly cursed videotape, in Hideo Nakata's chilling and highly influential tale of technological terror.
Science Fiction 2000 114 mins Director: Kenji Fukasaku
Before The Hunger Games there was Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku's magnificently twisted shocker in which tearaway teens are given three days to kill or be killed.
Romance 1953 97 mins Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Kenji Mizoguchi's haunting evocation of a feudal world where brutal realism intermingles with the supernatural.
Narrative music video 2021 45 mins Director: Alasdair McLellan
Saint Etienne present a beautiful and enveloping nostalgia trip through 1990s Britain.
Drama 2010 131 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
A mother bequeaths two life-altering letters to her children in Denis Villeneuve’s powerful and compelling drama.
Crime 2009 77 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve’s profound dramatisation of the tragic Montreal Massacre.
Documentary 2005 45 mins Director: Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly’s second collaboration with pop band Saint Etienne traces the hidden history of East London’s Lower Lea Valley before its Olympic makeover.
Drama 2013 91 mins Director: Denis Villeneuve
Jake Gyllenhaal as doppelgangers in this dark, pulsating thriller from Denis Villeneuve.
2007 54 mins Director: Paul Kelly
The final part of Saint Etienne and Paul Kelly’s London trilogy follows the renovation and reopening of the Royal Festival Hall through 2005-7.